Periodically, we look evil in the face. The Boston Marathon bombings are the latest sickening evidence evil exists and is all too alive and well.
No matter who we are, or what kind of character with which we live, evil intrudes, either from within our own hearts or from the hearts of others. It crashes in without regard for life or limb, without sensitivity or restraint, and without conscience or compassion. It’s just evil. It maims and kills and destroys. Its end is death.
President Obama said, “Make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”
In times like this partisanship shouldn’t matter. I’m rooting for the President, the FBI, the Massachusetts Governor, Boston officials, and everyone else involved in the justice, security, and military system. I hope we discover who did this and that they feel the “full weight of justice.”
But we already know “why they did this.” It’s called “sin,” or to stick with our theme, “evil” (Genesis 3:14-24; Romans 5:12).
I’m not in a position to assist professional responders. So how do we respond to this? You can send funds, donate blood, pray, but beyond this there’s not a lot we can do.
We can, though, work to restore our soul and the souls of those around us. Tragedy is disheartening. It generates fear, anxiety, discouragement or disillusionment. It creates a need, whether recognized or understood, for theological perspective and spiritual refreshment. Toward that end, here are a few thoughts from Scripture:
--God is sovereign. No matter what happens, no matter what evil occurs, no matter the fragility and brevity of our lives, God is still God, still in charge, still loves us, still able to bring hope and peace (Psalm 103:15-19).
--“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-3).
--“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).
--“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
--“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
--“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
--“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Evil ascends for a time, but in the end it will not win. We must combat it within (ourselves) and without (in the world), availing ourselves of the power of the Holy Spirit of God. But we’re not responsible for victory. God is. In fact, he’s already finished his work (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).
Evil like what we see in the Boston Marathon bombings is gut wrenching and sad. But it’s not whistling in the dark to say, “We will trust in God. We will have hope.”
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013